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Burglars Have Taken To Robbing Victims Violently In Homes In City, Suburbs, Experts Warn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Authorities say there is a new reason to set your security alarm – no matter where you live.

Violent break-ins have been plaguing both the city and suburbs, and the bold criminals do not care that you are home.

One suspect has been linked to a total of eight incidents in Brooklyn between Sunday, Feb. 15 and this past Friday. In all but one of the incidents, someone was home at the time and was robbed at gunpoint.

The victims included a 53-year-old woman, a 36-year-old woman, a 42-year-old woman, a 76-year-old man, a 39-year-old man, a 28-year-old woman, and a 68-year-old woman. Police have released surveillance video.

CBS2's Tony Aiello talked to three of the victims in the incidents in and around East Flatbush, Brooklyn. They all said they were sitting innocently at home when all of a sudden, the man was in front of them sticking a gun in their face.

They said the man demanded cash, jewelry, and even Nintendo game consoles.

The woman in the most recent incident has a new lock on her door, and fear in her heart, after her Friday night fright.

"There was a bright light like that, and a gun pointed at me," the woman said. "I am sure we were going to die."

The woman and her grandson both said a man in the surveillance video looks like the man with a gun and flashlight who entered their home. They said he climbed through a window and terrorized them in their East Flatbush home.

"He was just saying: 'Turn around! Turn around! Turn the F around! Where's the money? Give me the money! Where's the money at!'" the woman said.

"The police told us he's been going through a number of houses," her grandson added.

The man is suspected in eight robberies in the last nine weeks. Another of the victims had a purse was taken at gunpoint.

"He pointed it at my face," she said, calling the experience "terrifying; like, it's not something you forget."

Bold criminals also struck Saturday in suburban Bronxville. Two men wearing masks entered a home through a second-story window, confronted sleeping homeowners, and struck George Shively with a flashlight.

"They woke me up with a flashlight in the face; (they said), 'Get out of bed! Get up! Get down on the floor!' I didn't get down on the floor. That's when, you know," Shively said.

Last Tuesday, a suspect confronted and struck a woman in Millburn, New Jersey who found him rifling through her belongings and yelled at him to leave. Police have released a sketch in that incident.

Millburn Robbery Suspect
A sketch of a burglary suspect who struck a woman in Millburn, New Jersey. (Credit: Millburn Police)

Security expert David Boehm said burglars who are willing to confront residents and become robbers are particularly frightening.

"They may understand there may be people at home, and that's where it becomes much more dangerous," he said. "And they may be using that in order to find what they're looking for, by threatening a family member in order to get what they want."

Boehm, a retired member of the NYPD, advised getting an alarm system and making sure it extends to the upper windows of your home – because bad guys can, and do, get in through those upper windows. Boehm also advised that you should be aware of your surroundings and take every prudent precaution to secure your home.

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